12th fret action vs. 24th action - Jemsite
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:16 AM
abstract_noise  is offline
 
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12th fret action vs. 24th action


I just wanted to thank Rich for his awesome tech section of Ibanezrules. I really should he should make youtube videos and market his site/information more, since I remember his site was one of the first I stumbled upon and give more/better info than alot of other youtube channels or websites.

Basically, I noticed that I was going for a 12th fret action of 2.0mm (low E) on my ESP and 1.5mm (high E).

I was already near that on the 12th so I thought that may be it, and I wouldn't really have any more leg room to tighten down the action on the floyd and lower it more, without buzzing on the LOW frets 1-9 near the nut.

*it is important to note that the action on the 24th fret on Low E at this point was closer to 2.5mm, so the action was sloped way higher on the 24th fret vs. 12th fret.

anyway, I attempted to lower bridge anyway to his specifications on his website for Standard LOW action, which was 24fret low E= 2.0mm and 24fret high E = 1.8mm

I got it to these settings and was surprised to see, while the overall playability WAS MUCH BETTER, my action height on frets 12 were still 2mm, and 1.5mm.

In conclusion, I think people are confused in terms of setting up their guitars, when they have already somewhat *low* action near the nut (frets 1-9), and higher action on frets 12-24, they can be apprehensive about lowering than action any futher, and then get weird advice about fret leveling or other possibly unnecessary things on guitar forums.

I guess it's common knowledge to some that the bridge action primarily affects frets 12-24 and truss rod, frets 1-12, but I just wanted to post about this thanks guys

Last edited by abstract_noise; 04-19-2014 at 05:05 PM..
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  #2  
Old 04-04-2014, 11:41 AM
theapprentice  is offline
 
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Re: 12th fret action vs. 24th action


What do you use to measure the string heights? A caliper? Feeler gauge?

Depending on the stability of your guitar's neck, the relief might have changed after you lowered the action. Check the neck relief by pressing on the 1st fret and then the spot just beyond the 24th fret, then look at the gap of the bottom of the string and the top of the 8th fret.

Slightly off-topic, but it might be interesting to you anyway:

After finding out the action on John Petrucci's guitars c/o his tech Matt Schieferstein (around 1mm at the 12th fret), I tried it out on my personal guitar using a 1mm Tortex pick as my feeler gauge of sorts - I placed the pick between the low and high E strings and the top of the 12th fret, then slowly turn the studs until there is hardly any space for the pick to move upwards or downwards.

On my guitar with impeccable fretwork, no truss rod adjustments were necessary, but on another one I had to make some compromises since I got dead spots on some areas. Nevertheless I was pleased because the lower action made playing so much more enjoyable - no tension on the strings, and the slight pinging of the strings on the frets made my tone brighter and more cutting, even with dark-sounding pickups.
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:51 AM
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Re: 12th fret action vs. 24th action


Quote:
Originally Posted by theapprentice View Post
What do you use to measure the string heights? A caliper? Feeler gauge?

Depending on the stability of your guitar's neck, the relief might have changed after you lowered the action. Check the neck relief by pressing on the 1st fret and then the spot just beyond the 24th fret, then look at the gap of the bottom of the string and the top of the 8th fret.

Slightly off-topic, but it might be interesting to you anyway:

After finding out the action on John Petrucci's guitars c/o his tech Matt Schieferstein (around 1mm at the 12th fret), I tried it out on my personal guitar using a 1mm Tortex pick as my feeler gauge of sorts - I placed the pick between the low and high E strings and the top of the 12th fret, then slowly turn the studs until there is hardly any space for the pick to move upwards or downwards.

On my guitar with impeccable fretwork, no truss rod adjustments were necessary, but on another one I had to make some compromises since I got dead spots on some areas. Nevertheless I was pleased because the lower action made playing so much more enjoyable - no tension on the strings, and the slight pinging of the strings on the frets made my tone brighter and more cutting, even with dark-sounding pickups.
Interesting story.

Relief is the same though, 0.25mm at 9th fret.

And I'm using a string action gauge, with 0.5 mm markings and it even has a decimal system mm with black bars.

I do have feeler gauges too, and a string action gauge in inches.
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:09 PM
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Re: 12th fret action vs. 24th action


Sorry for derailing the thread a bit with the unnecessary story. I think at a certain point the difference in the action between 12th and 24th fret measurements get smaller and smaller, since the strings have a constant height at the nut area. I'm glad that you're enjoying your guitar's action and playability now - that's a very important thing after all.
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:37 PM
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Re: 12th fret action vs. 24th action


Quote:
Originally Posted by theapprentice View Post
Sorry for derailing the thread a bit with the unnecessary story. I think at a certain point the difference in the action between 12th and 24th fret measurements get smaller and smaller, since the strings have a constant height at the nut area. I'm glad that you're enjoying your guitar's action and playability now - that's a very important thing after all.
I kinda just re-read your story though and am a bit confused.

Are you really saying say John Petrucci uses 1mm action at the 12th fret? on what string? the low E or both?


Jesus christ that's so astronomically low. Is there some guitarist encyclopedia online where one can see famous guitarist action heights?

I've always been curious to see Paul gilberts or marty friendmans or such....
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:02 AM
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Re: 12th fret action vs. 24th action


It takes expert fretwork to get the action crazy low.
If a setup is really good the action is almost the same all the way from the 1st fret to the last fret.
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Old 04-05-2014, 10:27 AM
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Re: 12th fret action vs. 24th action


Quote:
Originally Posted by abstract_noise View Post
I kinda just re-read your story though and am a bit confused.

Are you really saying say John Petrucci uses 1mm action at the 12th fret? on what string? the low E or both?


Jesus christ that's so astronomically low. Is there some guitarist encyclopedia online where one can see famous guitarist action heights?

I've always been curious to see Paul gilberts or marty friendmans or such....
I believe it's ~1mm for both sides. Tried it on my 2 main guitars, and as I mentioned in my story it chokes the strings a little more, giving it a characteristic "pinging" sound off the frets and added treble content into whatever is next in your chain. In front of a high gain amp, and with sufficiently high-output pickups, it's an incredibly tight sound with lots of harmonics and nearly effortless playability. ;-)
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:39 PM
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Re: 12th fret action vs. 24th action


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Originally Posted by sebastian View Post
If a setup is really good the action is almost the same all the way from the 1st fret to the last fret.
No that's not correct at all.... Try setting up a guitar with 1mm or even 1.5mm action from the 1st to the 24th... even 1mm is excessively high action on the 1st fret. It should be just barely high enough to clear the 1st fret without buzz... about .3mm -.5 mm... and then about 1.5mm at the 24th to get ~1mm at the 12th fret.
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Old 04-05-2014, 04:00 PM
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Re: 12th fret action vs. 24th action


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Originally Posted by Swirltop View Post
No that's not correct at all.... Try setting up a guitar with 1mm or even 1.5mm action from the 1st to the 24th... even 1mm is excessively high action on the 1st fret. It should be just barely high enough to clear the 1st fret without buzz... about .3mm -.5 mm... and then about 1.5mm at the 24th to get ~1mm at the 12th fret.
Yeah, I was going to say, lol, 1mm on the first fret is HIGH lol.

Anyway, man, 1mm? really?

I have 2mm on my 12th fret low E and 1.5mm on my high E and that's low. I mean, it has a good feel to it, very very very minimal buzz, mostly every notes rings out great but it's definitely low to some people.

I couldn't imagine 1mm. The strings would just be laying on the frets.....
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Old 04-05-2014, 05:49 PM
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Re: 12th fret action vs. 24th action


I didn't mention any numbers in my last post.
I just spoke about the setup in general.
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:06 AM
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Re: 12th fret action vs. 24th action


Quote:
Originally Posted by abstract_noise View Post
Yeah, I was going to say, lol, 1mm on the first fret is HIGH lol.

Anyway, man, 1mm? really?

I have 2mm on my 12th fret low E and 1.5mm on my high E and that's low. I mean, it has a good feel to it, very very very minimal buzz, mostly every notes rings out great but it's definitely low to some people.

I couldn't imagine 1mm. The strings would just be laying on the frets.....
If you own another guitar, do try to set it up with ~1mm action at the 12th so you can try it out for yourself. The strings would be pretty close to the frets at this point, but with adequate fretwork there shouldn't be any problems. If you dig in when picking, the "ping" would be annoying for a while, but it's not something that takes too long to get used to. And again, the playability at this point is sublime IMO.

Before doing this on my guitars, I did have ~2mm action at the 24th fret, and with that setup you can get good playability with very minimal fret "pinging." I decided to go even lower because the small delay I get when fretting down strings during faster runs was messing with my timing. I'm still pretty satisfied so far.
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Old 04-08-2014, 01:37 AM
abstract_noise  is offline
 
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Re: 12th fret action vs. 24th action


Quote:
Originally Posted by theapprentice View Post
If you own another guitar, do try to set it up with ~1mm action at the 12th so you can try it out for yourself. The strings would be pretty close to the frets at this point, but with adequate fretwork there shouldn't be any problems. If you dig in when picking, the "ping" would be annoying for a while, but it's not something that takes too long to get used to. And again, the playability at this point is sublime IMO.

Before doing this on my guitars, I did have ~2mm action at the 24th fret, and with that setup you can get good playability with very minimal fret "pinging." I decided to go even lower because the small delay I get when fretting down strings during faster runs was messing with my timing. I'm still pretty satisfied so far.
Yeah, I hear ya. I just made a post in this section because I attempted to go a bit lower on my ESP LTD M-II, down to about 1.75mm on both high E and Low E string at the 24th fret.

I think it's closer to 1.5mm at the 12th fret. Couldn't imagine going lower at this point, but I 'm wondering if I should add some relief to remove some of the buzz on the lower frets, since there is really no buzz on the higher frets.

Relief is very very low at 0.25mm, so I figured I could just bump it up and notch, then lower the action again at the tremolo bridge to make sure nothing changes.
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Old 04-19-2014, 01:34 PM
bowie8889  is offline
 
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Re: 12th fret action vs. 24th action


Interesting thread. I sold some guitars in the past due to this "neck angle" issue, where the strings weren't totally parallel to the fretboard. I think it can really make or break a guitar's playability.
Fender's dreaded CBS neck was supposed to deal with this issue, and Ibanez Gambale model also sported a neck angle adjustment.
On a perfectly angled neck, you can get consistent very low action all the way to the upper frets without any buzzing at the low frets, which translates to a really slick, consistent feel throughout the neck.
I used to own a guitar like that, a cheap bolt-on les paul knockoff, unfortunately it was stolen by a thieving bandmate.
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